What is a secondary residence?

Secondary Residence: What you need to learn about the modern granny flat

Are you looking for ways to live close to your loved ones but not under the same roof because you want to keep your privacy and independence? Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU) or usually identified as a granny flat which we call ‘A secondary residence’ could be the best option for you.

What is a secondary residence?

A secondary residence is a ‘small’ residence in the backyard of a primary family residence, designed for one or two elderly folks. Modern granny flats are recommended these days because of its high-tech features. 

Why a secondary residence?

A secondary residence is worthwhile for seniors, families or investors. They are fabricated to benefit the high quality living at a reasonable cost. The option to downsize without paying body corporate or aged care fees has become appealing to many. Here are some of the great reasons why you should choose a secondary residence:

Closer family relationship

A secondary residence is a long-term home that if built in the backyard of a family or senior residence can provide independence for either part while still being close.

Effective Emergency plan

Being close to family members can come in handy in case of an emergency. It can also be easier to monitor each other to make sure you’re all ok. If someone may have mobility challenges a secondary residence can be perfect with the larger living and no steps required if made disability friendly from the beginning. You can also organise an intercom from the secondary residence to the main residence for easy communication between the households. 

Privacy and independence

Privacy and security is something everyone likes to feel. With a secondary residence there is another house on the block in order for security, double glazed windows and lockable doors, security sensor lights, crunch gravel is also a good option to secure your property. 

Small and self-sustaining

Secondary residence designs and structures are well-planned for accessibility and luxury living. Since secondary residences are likely to be smaller than the current residence it becomes convenient to have a place for everything and easy to clean, which is what a lot of people with large houses wish for.

Quick and cost-effective.

Spend less then a brand new apartment but feel like you’re living in one. Secondary residences builds are similar to that of an entire house build although a lot easier as usually the one company handles the entire process. It can cost a lot of dead money in rent or the lump sum that you can spend in an aged care facility plus the daily rate. Therefore it makes it a good costing exercise. It will also add to the value of the current residence providing you with a greater sale price in future or potential equity in the property.

Modern and safe

Modern secondary residences can be high-tech. They can have motion detectors, security equipment, skylights, inbuilt speakers, heated flooring, led strip lighting and so much more. You can even organise to have the secondary residence completely controlled by a tablet. They also can have split system air conditioning units to warm up or cool down quickly. Plus It has internet and phone connections from the main residence and separate electricity meters if requested. The options are endless for what you can do in your secondary residence, the only limit is the clients funds.

Disability Friendly

Bathrooms that are DA approved need to have enough space for a wheelchair to complete a 360 and get through the doors without their hands getting hurt on the way out. Also they can be fitted out a wheelchair accessible toilet, have grab bars for support and alternative vanities. One bedroom, living space, laundry and bathroom needs to have the ability for 360 degree turns to take place when in a wheelchair. 

How can you get a secondary residence?

Construction of secondary residences requires approval from ACTPLA but as mentioned previously a lot of companies include or provide this service.

The first step is to check and make sure a secondary residence can fit on your block. To do this, you can contact us and we will show you if one of our products can fit on your block. Alternatively you can look yourself on ACTMAPi (if you’re in Canberra that is) if you know the rules, regulations and size of the secondary residence then this website can give you a good idea of what can fit. 


This information is general in nature and written by The Pod Canberra team specialising in luxury secondary residences in Canberra and surrounds.

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